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VIACOM CABLE SALE UNDER SCRUTINY BY FCC
Published January 11, 1995
A proposed deal from Viacom to sell its cable systems for $2.3B to a minority partnership is under scrutiny by the FCC. The sale would save Viacom nearly $400M in capital gains taxes under a program to promote minority ownership in the TV industry. Senior officials at the agency say the deal will be closely examined, as the FCC is concerned it "will be a costly drain on federal tax revenue and will focus criticism on the FCC's programs to expand minority ownership in the TV and radio industry. Critics have attacked the deal as a tax "windfall" for Viacom and the minority ownership program as "a racially biased set-aside." Viacom is selling its cable systems to help pay off some of the debt it took on when they acquired Paramount Communications and merged with Blockbuster last year" (Paul Farhi, WASHINGTON POST, 1/11).